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Ripon VIPS raises funds for juvenile diabetes research
Brian Heath and Bea Azevedo of the Ripon Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) program are shown at the Ripon Farmers Market Thursday selling tickets for a bike raffle to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Association. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO

RIPON – The Volunteers in Police Services of Ripon serve their community in dozens of ways, all for gratis.

But they also take on other duties and projects, however big and small, that impact not just the residents of their community but people from all over the country, even the world. One such project is a fund-raiser to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Association.

The VIPS, as they are better known, are selling raffle tickets for a Schwinn bike. Donations are $1 for one ticket, $5 for six tickets, $10 for 15, and $50 for 75. VIPS Brian Heath and Bea Azevedo took their fund-raising project to the weekly Farmers Market Thursday in downtown Ripon at the south end of Main Street. They will be at the Farmers Market again on Thursday this week to try and sell more tickets before the drawing on Saturday, Aug. 7, at Bass Pro Shops located in the Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley on South Union Road off the Highway 120 Bypass. Heath and Azevedo said the drawing will be held sometime in the evening around 7 o’clock. One need not be present to win the prize.

The blue and white Schwinn bike was on display at the Farmers Market where they were selling the tickets. It was a man’s bike. However, Heath said that if the winner is a female and would prefer a lady’s bicycle, a substitution could be arranged.

Tickets may also be purchased at the police station at Ripon City Hall located at 259 North Wilma Avenue during regular business hours.

Heath and Azevedo said the VIPS chose to hold a fund-raiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Research in honor of the daughter of Ripon Police Traffic Officer Stephen Meece whose nine-year-old daughter was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at age 3. Heath said the officer will do the honors of drawing the ticket for the lucky winner of the bike.

Two weeks ago, Meece was honored as Officer of the Year during the annual Ripon Chamber of Commerce installation and awards dinner held at the Spring Creek Country Club.

For additional information about the fund raiser and the VIPS program, call Ripon City Hall at (209) 599-2102.